Although the Unilever and Ban Bab partnerships succeeded by using their available resources, the partnerships could significantly benefit from a longer-term commitment of resources or else the initial economic and social gains accrued by all the partners could be lost
2002 Urban Fellow
Research Topic: Land Use Planning and Management
Faculty Advisor: Bradford Gentry
Partnerships to Create Successful Urban Open Spaces in Bangkok, Thailand
For the first time in modern history nearly half of the world’s population lives in cities rather than in rural areas. By 2025, the population of urban areas is expected to double while Southeast and South Asian urban areas could see population increases of 250%. (GEO 2000, UNEP). The impacts of this exploding population in the urban footprint includes the encroachment and consumption of agricultural and forest lands creating urban air and water pollution, overcrowded settlements which exacerbate social, psychological and respiratory problems, traffic and noise congestion and reduce recreational space. Urban open spaces on the urban periphery and in the urban core can mitigate these environmental challenges. Open spaces can protect the quality and supply of drinking water, improve air quality, stabilize human-settled hillsides, enable floodwater drainage, conserve flora, fauna and biodiversity habitat and provide recreational space for alleviating physical and psychological dangers of overcrowded settlements. Bangkok, Thailand is a rapidly urbanizing city with a population that has grown from 1.3 million people in 1950 to 7.3 million people in 2000 (UN Population Division). The fast-paced construction of city streets, apartments, office towers and neighborhoods has rapidly consumed Bangkok’s land, leaving few parcels of open space. In addition, the rapid growth of automobile usage has stimulated a large-scale expansion of the metropolitan expressway network. These elevated expressways create extensive ribbons of urban voids that wind through Bangkok’s neighborhoods, retail and office areas, offering significant potential to serve urban residents as vibrant parks, vegetable markets, sport courts, community gardens and playgrounds which can enrich daily life and make the city more livable.